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Despite a statewide ban, Illinoisans continue to go over the border to buy fireworks

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(The Center Square) – As Independence Day approaches, Illinois’ neighboring states continue to see a flow of Illinoisans crossing over the border to buy fireworks.

For over 80 years now, Illinois’ Pyrotechnic Use Act prohibits residents from buying and using fireworks, unless they are novelty fireworks such as smoke bombs or sparklers. Violating the law could mean a fine of up to $2,500.

Illinois is one of only three states that bans some or all fireworks, joining Massachusetts and Vermont. As a result, fireworks stands in Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa and Indiana see a lot of their business coming from Illinois.

Chris Brunson with Mark’s Fireworks in Evansville, Indiana, with locations all over the state, said they see a steady stream of Illinois license plates in the parking lot.

“We do, we have a location in Vincennes that gets Illinois business, but we have plenty of locations in Indiana that get traffic from Illinois,” Brunson said.

Sherry Cheesewright, who owns Sherry’s Fireworks in Clinton, Indiana, said she gets visitors from all over Illinois.

“I bring them in from Charleston, Decatur, Champaign, so once they find me, they tend to come back here,” Cheesewright said.

There was legislation in the Illinois General Assembly this spring to allow ground sparklers for people 18 and older, but after testimony about the dangers of the items was offered, the measure failed in committee.

Although the usage of fireworks has increased significantly over the past three years around the country, injuries are on the decline. An analysis by the Illinois Policy Institute found that injuries decreased by about a third in 2022 compared to 2020 despite a massive increase in fireworks sales.

Critics of the ban say the state is missing out on tax dollars from money being spent in neighboring states.

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